Happy New Year!
Down here in southern-ish,western-ish England it has been a very mild winter so far. There has been just enough frost to knock down the dahlias and their like, but not so much cold weather that the grass has stopped growing. It hasn’t and could soon do with a mow. I was listening to an interesting story on this morning’s BBC news concerning the early blooming of wild flowers in south Wales, not so very far from here as the crow flies.
The story http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16465 133 concerns a survey conducted by Dr. Tim Rich of the National Museum of Wales and Dr. Sarah Whild of Birmingham University, who found 63 species of plants in flower around Cardiff. In a more normal year, 20-30 species typically flower through the winter.
The story resonated with me as I have begun the spring tidy in the garden and noticed plants in flower here that are not normally winter blooming. Beside my pond a clump of campanula portenschlagiana is flowering cheerfully, the blue bells clear against fresh green leaves. It is a plant I both love and hate. I love it for the endless nectar and pollen it supplies in summer for a range of bee species, especially the leaf cutters I love. But is it ever a hooligan, spreading absolutely everywhere and growing in good, bad, indifferent and no soil at all. I have an annual purge at removing most of it. The fact it is annual should tell you all you need to know.
A hollyhock flowering until last week when the gales finally finished it off is another unseasonal specimen. I have never had Christmas flowering hollyhocks before, but this year we had one in full flower. There were plenty of examples of the usual early starters I spotted as I weeded-primroses and primulas, snowdrops, the first buds of species crocus and hellebore, chaenomeles, autumn cherry although the birds were striping the flowers from it energetically, daisies. Further afield, hazel is flowering in the hedgerow and I have calendula, celandine and ground ivy flowers on the allotment.
I know many people have unseasonal blooms in their gardens and would be interested to know what else might be flowering. Is there anything unusual in your garden?